For the second time in three days, Johnny Damon -- now christened Johnny Drama -- has delivered a big hit at the right time, cracking a game-ending single into right field in the ninth inning. Damon (1 for 5 on the day) had again been struggling at the plate, just as he had on Thursday when he went hitless until hitting a walk-off two run home run in 10th inning.
The Rays (6-8) trailed most of the game as Rays starter Jeff Niemann gave up 3 runs in the first 5 innings. Niemann ultimately showed a lot of improvement over his last start and managed to complete 7 innings while striking out 6 and walking only 1.
Before the 8th inning, the Rays had mustered only 1run on 4 hits and 1 walk. The Twins (4-10) brought in reliever Matt Capps in the 8th inning, who allowed a run on a Matt Joyce single. Then, in the 9th inning, the Twins brought in ace closer Joe Nathan -- who appears not yet recovered from last year's season-ending surgery. Nathan promptly allowed a home run to Ben Zobrist, tying the game, and then proceeded to walk B.J. Upton and Casey Kotchman. Jose Mijares then came in to relieve Nathan, striking out Elliot Johnson and then walking Sam Fuld.
Mijares then worked Johnny Damon into a 1-2 count. Damon fouled off the next two pitches and then turned an 82 mph slider into his fifth straight game winning hit.
The Rays will look for the sweep this Sunday, sending Jeremy Hellickson on the mound against lefty Brian Duensing. Game time is set for 1:40 p.m. ET.